Strengthening and Expanding Research collaborative bonds: UFH and Angola forge ahead

Read time: 3 mins

A historic moment unfolded at the University of Fort Hare (UFH) Senate Chamber earlier today as the Vice-Chancellor Prof Sakhela Buhlungu welcomed a high-level Angolan delegation representing two universities and the Ministry of Higher Education.

The collaboration between UFH and the Universidade Rainha Njinga a Mbande (URNM) and the Universidade Katyavala Bwila (UKB) is supported by the Department of Science and Innovation (DSI) in South Africa and the Ministry of Higher Education, Science, Technology, and Innovation in Angola.

This reciprocal visit aimed to expand existing research collaborations, forge new possible partnerships, and facilitate substantive postgraduate studies exchanges that will ultimately produce meaningful research that will impact humanity.

The visit comes on the heels of a UFH delegation visit to Angola led by the VC in November last year which laid the groundwork for the engagement. Read about the UFH visit here

The Angolan delegation comprised his excellency Nkula Ndilu Mankenda, General Secretary of the Ministry of Higher Education, Science, Technology, and Innovation in Angola; Prof Eduardo Ekundi Valentim, Vice-Chancellor URNM and; Prof Albano Vicente Lopes Ferreira, Vice-Chancellor of Universidade Katyavala Bwila UKB.

UFH and URNM already enjoy an existing partnership that began in 2021 when the DSI mediated a meeting between the two institutions. The existing collaboration, led by Prof Eduardo Valentim (URNM) and Prof Uchechukwu Nwodo (UFH) blossomed between a few researchers from over the past three years with substantial accomplishments stemming from the joint action plan entered by the researchers from both universities. On the visit to Angola, the two institutions re-enforced their commitment with the signing of a memorandum of understanding.

Welcoming the visitors was an equally high-level UFH delegation led by the VC comprising the DVC for Research, Partnerships and Innovation Dr Nthabi Taole-Mjimba; the DVC for Teaching and Learning, Prof Renuka Vithal; Interim DVC for Institution Support, Lebogang Hashatse; the Registrar Mr Njabulo Zuma; the CFO Mr Charles Matumba; the Dean of Students, Mr Lufuno Tshikhudo and ; Dr Aceme Nyika the Director for Research and Innovation at the Govern Mbeki Research and Development Centre.

Instrumental in the engagement was the presence of Prof Nwodo and the University’s six Faculty Deans.

In welcoming the delegation, VC Prof Buhlungu underscored the importance of the moment that was unfolding. “The significance of this joint venture is its multi-sphered approach which makes provision for the formation of partnerships between institutions, governments, and academics. This is the best illustration of what a research partnership should be. It is a brilliant example of meaningful and impactful collaborations for the benefit of humanity.”

The engagement kicked off with words of assurance from his excellency Nkula Ndilu Mankenda that the Angolan Higher Education Ministry was fully behind this collaboration. “We pledge our full support for this partnership,” he said.

The programme proceeded with the VCs giving in-depth overviews of their respective universities. Dr Taole-Mjimba and Prof Vithal detailed the university’s teaching, learning, and research programmes such as the newly launched research niche areas.

Thereafter, the UFH Deans were given an opportunity to present the work of their faculties and engage with the delegates. A fruitful discussion ensued where commonalities and opportunities to strengthen existing collaboration and the inception of new ones were instantly identified.

The visit concluded with a tour of Freedom Square where the VC narrated the history of the site where Tambo and Sobukwe Walk are located and a tour to the De Beers Art Gallery where significant moments of the University are immortalized and displayed, either in text or images, sealed the visit.